Accessing your GP remotely

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Barnet gathered feedback from local people to find out about their experience of accessing their GP remotely. They carried out an anonymous online survey, 1-2-1 telephone interviews and community focus groups to capture insight from people who are both online and offline.  Their findings revealed:

  • People liked certain aspects of the new GP process – this includes the ease of using the online booking system, quick turnaround time from requesting an appointment and seeing the GP, and ability to collect prescriptions.
  • Some people expressed that they felt safer having a remote appointment with their GP compared to attending in person due to the risk of catching COVID-19.
  • People felt that remote appointments were more convenient, quick and time-efficient for many reasons, such as not travelling to the surgery, ability to book an appointment at any time of the day etc.
  • However, people didn’t like certain aspects of the new process as well – this includes lengthy online forms with irrelevant questions, longer waiting time to get routine appointments and system inefficiencies resulting in increased access to more acute pathways.
  • People had concerns about patient choice, their privacy and data security, the accuracy of “digital diagnosis” and gaps in communication, meeting people’s accessibility needs, difficulties for people who are digitally excluded and frustrations about lack of face-to-face access.

The report has several recommendations for the providers and contains a response from the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing your GP remotely
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Barnet
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 31 August, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 31 July, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing

Methodology and approach

What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Multiple partners
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.